Is IBM Watson Like Microsoft Windows and Google Android? What? Huh?

November 16, 2016

Short honk. As we approach the end of 2016, I am paying attention to the prognostications for the future. I noted a stunner which I want to highlight. The source is Data Science Central’s “What Can Modern Watson Do?” (This is a heck of a question by the way. I will comment about the article in more detail next week.) For today, I want to present this statement from a mid tier consulting firm’s guru wizard savant human. Here’s the statement made in reference to IBM Watson:

David Schubmehl, an analyst at IDC compares IBMs new playbook in AI with Microsoft’s Windows in personal computing and Google’s Android OS in mobile. “IBM is trying to do the same thing with Watson,” he said, “open up a platform, make it available for others, and democratize the technology.”

Dave Schubmehl, IDC, allegedly compared IBM’s “playbook” to Microsoft Windows in personal computing and Google Android’s operating system in mobile. The hedge is the word “trying.” Yep, trying includes paying mid tier consultants to toot the Watson tuba. The premise strikes me as something a day worker in Harrod’s Creek might say; for example, the democratization of technology makes IBM Watson’s future great, maybe huge, or Number One. Yep, a day worker says this stuff frequently in rural Kentucky.

A couple of observations.

  • A playbook is not what Microsoft Windows or Google Android are. But for the fact that a “playbook” is not widely used software for consumers, the IDC logic warrants the creation of a new word for this type of logical misstep: Schubmehlian. I like that word Schubmehlian.
  • Windows has revenue. Watson does not have Windows-scale global reach, a comparable “brand,” or a subscription revenue model producing real billions every quarter. The lawyers use the phrase “but for” to help explain this type of logic. Watson is great “but for” its lack of scale, brand value, and revenue. The metaphor looks shaky, Mr. Mid Tier Consultant guru.
  • Google Android OS has market reach. The last figure I recall is that Android is the operating system on more than 80 percent of the world’s mobile devices. (The source for this magic number is none other than IDC, the same folks who generate pretty crazy numbers like how much time a professional spends looking for information each day.) Watson is great “but for” its lack of market share.

Yep, those “but fors” can be a problem. However, mid tier consultants are not paid to be right, just to sound right. Tuck this away for future reference. Watson is the new Windows AND the new Google Android OS.

Will the anti trust issues tag along? Not for a while. You can hire IDC and get this type of logic by filling out the form at this link. The result will be — how can I say it? — Schubmehlian.

Stephen E Arnold, November 16, 2016


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